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Assange: Pentagon could be behind rape claim

AFP/The Local · 22 Aug 2010, 14:35

Published: 22 Aug 2010 13:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Aug 2010 14:35 GMT+02:00

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The country's prosecution service meanwhile justified the chaotic situation when authorities first issued an arrest warrant for the Australian whistleblower late on Friday night but then withdrew it the following day.

The Aftonbladet newspaper quoted Assange, 39, as saying he did not know who was "hiding behind" the claims, which came amid a stand-off with Washington over the website's publication of secret Afghan war documents.

Assange said he was shocked by the allegations against him and that he had never had sexual relations with anybody in a way that was not consensual, the tabloid said.

But he said that he had been warned previously that groups such as the Pentagon "could use dirty tricks" to destroy Wikileaks -- adding that he had been particularly warned against being entrapped by sexual scandals.

Assange told Aftonbladet that despite the lifting of the warrant, his enemies would still use the claims to damage Wikileaks, which is set to publish thousands more secret papers about the war in Afghanistan in coming weeks.

He refused to give more details about the two women whose claims sparked the furore, saying that it would impinge on their privacy.

Prosecutors said Saturday that Assange was now "not suspected of rape" and was no longer wanted for questioning on the charge, but added that an investigation into a separate molestation charge remained open.

Assange, Wikileaks website and his aides have strongly denied all the claims.

He had been in Sweden earlier this month giving a press conference on the upcoming release of the last batch of Afghanistan documents, but he generally remains on the move around the world staying with supporters.

The Swedish prosecutor's office issued a statement on Sunday defending its actions.

It said that chief prosecutor Eva Finne, who was responsible for withdrawing the arrest warrant, had "more information available to decide on Saturday than the duty prosecutor on Friday evening."

"A decision regarding restrictive measures, such as this, must always be reevaluated in a preliminary inquiry," the statement added.

The spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Karin Rosander, told AFP late Saturday that the procedure followed was normal and would have been launched automatically by the duty prosecutor in serious cases such as rape.

Story continues below…

In an interview in the Expressen newspaper, which broke the story, duty prosecutor Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand said that she "did not regret her decision".

The two women who originally made the claims did not make an official complaint and it was the police who took the decision to inform the prosecutors office, she said.

"I received a report from the police which seemed to me to be sufficient to arrest him. On Friday evening I got a call from the police describing what the women said. The information I received was convincing enough for me to take my decision," Häljebo Kjellstrand was quoted as saying.

WikiLeaks has already released nearly 77,000 secret papers about the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, sparking charges that it had endangered the lives of informants and others named therein.

The website says it had repeatedly asked the Pentagon for help analysing the remaining documents, and Assange has said he wants to avoid publishing the "names of innocent parties that are under reasonable threat".

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:10 August 22, 2010 by NickM
Interesting development on the allegations here:

15:48 August 22, 2010 by redcrown
more US dirty tricks
15:50 August 22, 2010 by Nika-NM
Assegne: You don't say! A nice carte blanche this. Always works.
15:59 August 22, 2010 by GLO
What FOOL would believe the Pentagon would get two girls from Sweden to be in just the right privat party in Sweden and both have a similar experience with this jerk/criminal. And you think Bush ordered the 4 planes to hit the Twin Towers,Pentagon, and Capitol bldgs ????
16:11 August 22, 2010 by janswed
What would have taken the C.I.A. so long to respond???
16:17 August 22, 2010 by eZee.se
While I do think the people who think the 9/11 tragedy was an "inside job"... need to check themselves into a mental asylum ASAP, there is no denying that that US/military/govt etc is pretty p!ssed at this fella and they are going to throw quite a bit at him.

He is "interfering" in a multibillion dollar industry, its crazy to think they are just going to sit back and do nothing - BUT, they cannot do something very openly either with the amount of eyes on him right now.

If the music and movie industries can interfere and bully Swedish law into doing their bidding with regards to ThePirateBay scandal, I daresay the US govt. has more bullying power.

You've gotta be really naive to think they are not doing anything, while it cant be proven that their hand is behind this - dont be to quick to dismiss it as there is no proof to say otherwise either.

And now a quick and shameless plug for the Pirate Party - vote for them and keep sites like WL in operation - the truth shall set you free!

17:03 August 22, 2010 by ehwhat?
Get a grip. We have no idea who actually placed the complaint. It could be a US operation. It could be WikiLeaks drumming up sympathy in a classic, "We are so oppressed." mode. It could be a private citizen who took a dislike to Assange personally or professionally. It could be a prosecutor looking for a profile. It could be a real complaint that isn't sufficient for prosecution. The possibilities are almost endless.

Any time a person places themselves within a spotlight, for whatever reason, every rock will flip over and slimy creatures come out. In WikiLeaks case their list of unhappy governments and people they have offended is bottomless.

Which by whistleblower standards is probably commendable. It takes a very tough skin to be a whistleblower and the record suggests they almost never prosper.
17:16 August 22, 2010 by Sebastian_R
Guys, you all need to come down. If we fall back into the regular "the US vs. Europe" pattern then we all are stupid and ignorant.

What happened in this case? Nobody really knows. But let's approach it like this. The facts are:

1) The guy was never accused of anything like this before

2) The guy pissed the powerful (yes, that's the US but that's also the Swiss, the Europeans who have operations in Afghanistan and many many others) off.

3) Something strange happens (this rape case).

Now who did it? Really, that doesn't matter. The point is NOT Sweden vs. the US. The point is a cultural war of those who think it is ok to keep secrets (like the Swiss banks who don't want Wikileaks to publish US tax fraudsters) and those who think it is NOT ok to keep secrets that deceive the public over what is really happening e.g. in Afghanistan.

This war of culture is not between nations. This war is between different political views and thus assuming the Pentagon behind this is not bashing the US but bashing the system of secrecy and is just as well applicable to Swiss banks. If we are praising Wikileaks for publishing dirty secretes, then this is not praise for liberal Sweden but goes equally well for the NY Times, the Huffington Post, the Guardian and many others who believe that knowing the facts is important for the public.

So get a grip - let's not fall back into old (and useless) patterns here
17:44 August 22, 2010 by Nomark
I have my own theory... Its probably a bit mad but here goes. One (or more) women, believe he committed some type of sexual offence against them. Consequently, after a formal complaint the Swedish legal system became involved because the type of thing of which he is accused is illegal. As more information about the events which led to the complaint became available to the authorities, the nature of the accusations changed. All the while the press were following the story because Mr Wikileaks is a famous man these days.

Just a theory I know. There is evidence for it though, unlike the various conspiracy theories.
18:15 August 22, 2010 by Freebie
'WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has speculated that the Pentagon could be behind a rape accusation that prompted Swedish prosecutors to issue a warrant for his arrest which was later withdrawn.'

Assange should not flatter himself so candidly. Intelligence operations, regardless of which flag they may fly, usually do not operate as sloppily as the governments they 'serve.' Individually or collectively, 'if they wanted to get you,' rest assured Julian, you'd already been 'gotten!'

Even smarmy characters such as you are involved in deadly automobile accidents! That is why they call them accidents....unfortunately they happen to all of us--all the time--when we don't see them coming.
19:53 August 22, 2010 by ryatech
@eZee.se. YOU ought to have YOUR head examined. If the 911 commission's report were not such a joke, perhaps we could put such outrageous claims to rest.
20:04 August 22, 2010 by eZee.se

While I might be able to give you some rope if you say that we have not been given the full picture as to what EXACTLY happened on 9/11 there is no way in hell any sane person is going to believe Bush/the US govt./Mossad/CIA/The tooth fairy or The bogeyman had anything to do in those terror attacks.
20:16 August 22, 2010 by NickM
It looks increasingly likely that that it is simply a case of of a "jilted lover" rather than a plot according to this latest dramatic news:


That's not to say however that US authorities haven't jumped on the opportunity at some stage to exploit it.
20:28 August 22, 2010 by Nomark
Yep, even if there is no evidence, let's slam the US anyway....

On the subject of evidence, can you please provide the evidence that this is more likely to be a "jilted lover" getting revenge rather than a complaint about a sexual assault. I've read and re-read your link but can't arrive at your conclusion that "it looks increasingly likely that that it is simply a case of of a "jilted lover" rather than a plot". Can you clarify ? Has the person who wrote the "revenge guide" identified herself as one of the people who complained the police ? Even if it was her, why does this post imply that the complaint has no foundation. Were you there in the bedroom ? The title of your own post "How to smear a hero" implies that you may be lacking in objectivity on this matter. Perhaps you should have changed it to "How to smear those who made allegations of sexual assault" because, rightly or wrongly, that is what it has turned into.
20:42 August 22, 2010 by capt
"He refused to give more details about the two women whose claims sparked the furore, saying that it would impinge on their privacy"

Strange that he would not want their identities known after the so called outlandish claims made by them?
21:04 August 22, 2010 by Kevin Harris
What on earth has been going on here?. We need a public enquiry to find out exactly what.

This pantomime is on the front page of newspapers across the globe; how incredibly embarrassing for anyone conected to Sweden. It's is a disgrace. The prosecutor and the police have made Sweden, and themselves, an international laughing stock.

If the prosecutors were merely following normal procedures, the procedures need a thorough review to prevent this sort of thing happening again. If there was the slightest divergence from normal procedures, we need to know what and why, and those responsible for it should be held accountable.
21:06 August 22, 2010 by Marko2010S
US, UK and Israel are behind that .
21:20 August 22, 2010 by ryatech
Nobody pressing any charges? What's all the fuss about then? The prosecutors office says that "some" policemen who will not be named, reports "some" women who will not be named, claim they were raped by Assange and although they won't press charges, a warrant for arrest is issued. Now somehow with "some" more information, Assange is no longer suspected and the warrant is revoked. What a BUNCH OF BULL!!
21:53 August 22, 2010 by Nomark
The case hasn't been dropped, only the rape allegation. Assault/molestation etc. are still under consideration. Also, it should be noted that rape has a broader definition under Swedish law than, eg, UK law.

From the Swedish prosecutors Q&A.

Vilka delar av ärendet är avgjorda och vilka kvarstår?

Det beslut som hittills är fattat är att Assange inte är misstänkt för våldtäkt och att han därför inte ska vara fortsatt anhållen. Åklagaren har ännu inte tagit ställning till eventuell brottsrubricering i det som tidigare bedömdes som våldtäkt. Hon har heller inte tagit ställning till det som är anmält som ofredande.

Personally, I think *anyone* accused of any type of sexual assault should be afforded the same legal right of anonymity which the accuser (rightly) possesses.
01:55 August 23, 2010 by Sebastian_R
And you all know what? I hope that in a few weeks we can all understand what happened since I'm sure that there will be someone who leaks all relevant documents to Wikileaks...

So, let's relax, sit back and see what will come out in the coming days....
06:15 August 23, 2010 by SilentLogic
@ GLO , not fools but wise can believe in such theories as pentagon has been playing such tricks
07:55 August 23, 2010 by flintis
Mmmmm, Pelican Brief springs to mind.


Was'nt it the Bogeyman who initiated 11th September catastrophe?

Advice to all:-don't trust a word a politician or goverment employee say's, they're trained in deception.
08:17 August 23, 2010 by Kevin Harris

Prosecutors in Sweden this morning issued arrest warrants for rape against Osama Bin Laden, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro and 127 000 employees of BP.

Spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Karin Rosander, said "Two women in the Stockholm yesterday alleged they were raped by all of the above at a party, and we are taking their allegations very seriously. We hope all 127, 004 defendants will hand themselves over to police sometime today. These are perfectly normal procedures, don't worry everybody."

In other news, the human resources department for the Stockholm prosecutors' office explained the presence of 400 men in sharp suits, sunglasses, constantly talking American English into their collars and holding a finger to their ear. Patsy Gullible of HR said "They are from our new cleaning company, they are only here to monitor our office hygiene needs, don't worry everybody"
06:50 August 27, 2010 by djrusa
The fact that so many people are willing to believe silly conspiacy theories pulled out of thin air shows that anti-Americanism is not based on politics or policy, it is a form of bigotry. In Europe Anti-Americanism is the new Anti-Semitism (except that they still have plenty of Anti-Semitism left in Europe as well)

The Article says

"The website says it had repeatedly asked the Pentagon for help analysing the remaining documents, and Assange has said he wants to avoid publishing the "names of innocent parties that are under reasonable threat". - Help?? - what are you nuts - Can this guy take any responsibility for his own actions - or is every selfish irresponsible act he does to be blaimed on America.
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